Age Of is an excellent and frequently rewarding album; where one might expect a musical cul-de-sac, there is a 180-degree turn that somehow always feels appropriate, a testament to two years of songcraft that have clearly paid dividends.
As it is, Joy As An Act Of Resistance is shot through with stand-out moments, a great offering that you suspect will well and truly bring the house down when the band hits the road.
I can feel you… is her most sonically sharp weapon to date, and full of plenty to get excited about if you rifle through it.
In We're Not Talking, The Goon Sax further their modest songcraft by sprucing up their tuneful sorrow.
With their 3rd LP, the Massachusetts four-piece are at their most pop-sensible, with the ever-growing influence of the synths that first made an appearance in second LP Foil Deer before becoming a more focal point of Dupuis's 2016 solo effort, Slugger.
For Reznor, if there’s a truth to be found in our place in the world, it’s darker and more complicated than we would like. While he denies us simple solutions, he uses this album to open sounds and atmospheres stranger and more daring than he’s used before.
From the 19-song tracklist of short tunes to the complete disregard for standard song structures, Goat Girl’s self-titled is a punk album in demeanor, if not in style. The result makes for a far more fascinating record than initial singles would have led us to believe. In defying expectations, the band exceeds them.
Stylistically eclectic, or maybe even chaotic, Obey is a sublime release, its melancholic moments offered grace and any ounce of frenzy more subtle than overt.
With Furman already establishing a consistent sound over his previous records, it was perhaps expected of him to cover some well-worn ground again here. Instead, and appropriately, Transangelic Exodus is an album that constantly takes left turns and refuses to slow. It turns out that with the right driver, there are plenty of miles left on the old road yet.
It’s rare that an artist can operate within the pop template, collaborate with household names and still produce work that can be considered as significantly culturally important, but that’s what Hynes manages.
What Freedom reveals is McMahon's ever-evolving tapestry, as it affectionally chronicles the human condition with candor and open-hearted curiosity.
Allison is a beguiling romantic who doesn’t hold any punches but also considers others’ changing behavior. Always true to her word, she carries onward, and a little more empowered, until it’s time to take on the next hurdle.
Just like Crow, there's a lot to take in. But Elverum remains unflinchingly committed to his art, where he begins to accept that there may be more to life than death, after all.
Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino will be written off as a daring diversion for the Arctic Monkeys, a bold career move that deliberately spells out commercial suicide. It's not the first time a band of this stature chooses to find their confidence by taking it slow. But neither is it too daring or too unhinged; in fact, sans the slower, more methodical tempos, many of the songs still fall under their common pairing of doo-wop chord progressions and piercing guitars.
The performances are muscular and attention-grabbing, and the melodies built around her distress take new and zestful contours.
Cocoa Sugar is an invigorating listen from beginning to end, and it's hard to imagine any other band making a musical work of art that's as visceral this year.
That ability for them to effortlessly switch between their influences - whether that’s hardcore, Minutemen or Talking Heads - while also sounding unlike anyone else is why Parquet Courts remain one of the most interesting indie acts around.
More than any other album ... Beyondless puts the hooks front and center, even allowing for radiant shafts of light to grace the corners of their pits of misery.
When it comes down to it, Hope Downs ultimately succeeds thanks to its impressive quality control. There's not a single bad song on here, only slight variances in tone and luster. A similar comparison could be made to R.E.M.'s groundbreaking debut effort, Murmur, and though it won't have the same impact, the album does share that same meticulous rendering of ringing guitars.
Her charisma, coupled with her artful and unique touch, positions her on a more commercial field without the slightest compromise. But the real story of Dirty Computer is how Monáe reveals an autobiographical sketch.
For In A Poem Unlimited, the Canadian-based multi-genre ensemble The Cosmic Range - of which Turnbull is also a member - were added to the roster, structuring disco loops and funk around Remy’s narratives, which our political climate seems to have finally caught up to.